By: Nyima Sillah
Election Watch Committee (EWC) The Gambia has reported a low number of rejected candidates indicating that mistakes within the nomination paperwork were not a significant barrier to candidacy in this process.
EWC observers noted that no objections were made to candidate nominations in 77 out of 81 reports, adding observers also reported that in 47 instances, candidates were not given a copy of the acceptance of the Nomination Form.
According to the Elections Watch Committee, observers were asked to observe whether aspirants submitted a complete nomination package and whether the IEC followed procedures in either accepting or rejecting their nominations. In many instances, the IEC confirmed receipt of the nomination package and later called the candidate to return to collect their acceptance of the nomination, EWC added.
However, the EWC report further revealed that the IEC has released a list of 367 candidates cleared to contest the April 15th local government councilor polls, and only 4 of 81 EWC observers reported candidates being rejected, and in all cases, they received rejection forms.
“Based on the IEC’s list of candidates, the highest numbers of candidates are in Brikama and Janjanbureh Administrative Area with 93 and 74 candidates running in each region, respectively.
“The UDP has fielded the largest number of candidates at 102 followed by the NPP at 99 candidates. As well, 68 independent candidates are running in these elections. The EWC noted that a low number of female candidates running in these elections is only 16% of candidates are women,” the report stated.
Meanwhile, the report said the candidate nomination process was generally peaceful with no major instances of violence and disruption except in one instance in Mansakonko where an NPP candidate was rejected by the IEC for not being a registered voter. However, the party was allowed to replace the candidate.
“The Election Watch Committee deployed fourteen (14) nomination observers i.e. two (2) observers for each region observing on alternating days to monitor the conduct of the local government councilor candidate nomination in their respective regions. All Election Watch observers were carefully selected and thoroughly trained, and accredited by the IEC.”